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The combination of entirely grand cru chardonnay and the superb 2012 vintage has resulted in a blanc de blancs of remarkable sophistication.
Product Code: CH4001
View all products by Pol Roger
Pol Roger founded his eponymous house in 1849 and earned his living largely by making Champagne for other houses. Although the business started without an inch of vineyard to its name, it gradually acquired land of its own and now has 55 hectares in and around Epernay, including important sites on the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims as well as numerous other vineyard plantings. Pol Roger was known to be the favourite Champagne of Winston Churchill who was quoted as proclaiming, “In victory, deserve it. In defeat, need it!”. The prestige wine, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, was released as a tribute and although the blend is a closely guarded secret, it is believed to be pinot noir-dominated, reflecting the style that Churchill preferred. Still run by descendants of the founder, Pol Roger is classic grande marque Champagne with a tremendous reputation rooted in the style and finesse of all its cuvées. It also has the kudos of being one of the few houses to hold the Royal Warrant. A blanc de blancs and a rosé, both vintage-dated are also produced, the former in tiny quantities.
Vintage cuvées often represent the very best Champagnes made by a house or grower. In theory, Champagne producers may declare a vintage in any year they please. Occasionally a house or grower will declare a vintage that seems out of step with the majority of producers if they feel that the performance of their particular vineyard(s) warrant it in any year.Generally, however, vintage Champagnes are only made in exceptional vintages.In contrast with the NV (non-vintage) wines, which are blended to maintain a house style, producers want their vintage Champagnes to display the quality and character of that one year's harvest. Vintage Champagnes always benefit from cellaring, and develop beautifully for those with the patience to leave them. They can be drunk upon release, but the vast majority will improve immeasurably with age. Champagne is made from chardonnay, pinot noir or pinot meunier grapes (there are one or two other permitted varieties but these are very rare) grown on chalky hillsides within a strictly demarcated region centred on the twin towns of Reims and Epernay, some 90 miles east of Paris. After hand harvesting, each grape variety is vinified separately, and in the following spring, the wines are blended unless a blancs de blancs is to made in which case any blending will be from parcels of chardonnay that were vinified separately. Yeast and sugar are added, and the wine is bottled for its second fermentation which creates the bubbles, or mousse. The yeast feeds on the sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide, which, with nowhere else to go in the sealed bottle, dissolves into the wine. Vintage Champagne must then mature for at least three years compared with a minimum of 15 months for non-vintage. Gradual turning of the bottles, remuage, brings the yeast sediment to the neck of the bottle, which is then frozen to allow the yeast pellet to be cleanly ejected (dégorgement). In some Champagnes the dégorgement is delayed, sometimes for years, to increase the depth and complexity of the flavours through more time spent on the lees. After topping up (dosage) with a little more wine and sugar (known as liqueur d'expédition), the bottle is sealed. What marks the ‘Champagne’ method from other sparkling wines is the fact that this complex and gradual maturation process, along with the second fermentation, takes place in the same bottle as the wine is sold.
An excellent vintage saved by an Indian summer after growers contended with heavy rain and fierce hail, especially in the Aube. August was fine and September warm and dry through the harvest so though the crop was small the wines are very well balanced. The two pinots performed particularly well.
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